When Davante Adams waved goodbye to the Empower Field at Mile high crowd after hauling in the walk-off touchdown in overtime, it was a culmination of a topsy-turvy type Sunday afternoon.
The Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver vented his frustration late in the third quarter to an official and drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The game was tied at 10 apiece between the Silver & Black and Denver Broncos with neither squad able to snare momentum squarely in their respective corners.
Adams’ vexation didn’t end there, though. After trading field goals, Denver crafted a 16-13 edge before Las Vegas’ offense took the field to answer in the fourth quarter with 3:30 left to play. The drive was a resounding dud as quarterback Derek Carr and Adams couldn’t hook up and it was three plays then a punt. Hope appeared to be dashed for the Raiders.
But Russell Wilson and the impotent Broncos offense is the gift that keeps giving. Carr and the Raiders offense got the ball back with 1:43 left and promptly made a mad dash to tie the game at 16 to force overtime. It only took Las Vegas three plays to win the game after punter AJ Cole correctly called heads on the coin flip before overtime.
Carr found tight end Foster Moreau for a 33 yard pass up the seam that gave the Raiders the ball on the Broncos’ 35-yard line — setting up Adams’ brilliance.
“It just felt like they focused a lot of attention on (Adams), and everybody does, you’re hoping for a chance at a chunk play,” Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels said in the postgame press conference. “In order to score in overtime, you’re probably thinking that you need a couple chunkers in there at some point. Foster made a great read on the play.”
That allowed Adams to read the Broncos defense like a textbook on the following play. The wide receiver ran his route to perfection, got Denver shutdown cornerback Pat Surtain II to bite on the inside before Adams’ planted his foot for the double move and glided to the outside. DA17 was wide open and DC4 found him for the game-winning 35-yard lob — ball game.
After immolating one of the league’s up-and-coming cover corners and everything that happened before that, it’s no wonder Adams gave the crowd a bye-bye wave.
“Just gotta sell it,” Adams said in the postgame media session. “Route-running is really just about the sameness within each route. I tried to give him a look and that’s why he dived over the top the way that he did. He thought he had a jump on it.”
“I was driving on the cross end,” Surtain II said in his postgame scrum. “(Adams) went on a double move. I should have kept my leverage, but I have to correct that.”
Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as overtime ended:
—Adams — not surpisingly — led all receivers in Sunday’s game with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets and seven catches. His pair of scores were of the longer variety: 35 and 31 yards. Adams’ targets were almost double the looks Courtland Sutton (seven) got in Denver’s offense.
—Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had the longest catch of the day — a 43-yard catch and run to put Las Vegas in prime position to get the game-tying field goal. Jacobs also galloped for 109 yards on 24 carries.
—Pass rusher Maxx Crosby was a man possessed for Las Vegas. He racked up two critical sacks, two tackles for loss and blocked a field goal. The pair of quarterback takedowns now gives the edge rusher nine on the season.
—Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson saw his consecutive streak snapped at 41 when his boot went wide right. Nonetheless, the reliable DC2 finished 3 of 4 with a long field goal of 57 yards, nicely rebounding from his first miss of the season.
—Undrafted free agent cornerback Sam Webb had an extremely tough go of it against Denver. First came a defensive pass interference call that was followed up by defensive holding and several spots where he was slow in coverage and couldn’t tackle.
—Raiders nose tackle Andrew Billings led the team with seven total tackles. Crosby, linebacker Denzel Perryman (who had a smashing thud of a tackle for loss), and three-technique Bilal Nichols tied for second with six total tackles.
—Cornerback Tyler Hall got the call up to Las Vegas’ 53-man roster and made most of his appearance racking up a sack and three total tackles. His quarterback takedown came at an opportune time as he realized his coverage responsibility stayed in to block and the Wyoming product sprinted to drop Wilson.